The Proper Way to Weld Spiders!

By Dan MacDonald

I’m not talking about them 8-legged critters. I’m
talking about those things that are in the center of your open
carrier of your axle. I have seen countless
posts about what is better: Locker, Limited Slip, or Spool? Well I
am not one to say one is better than the other. There are countless
situations where each would shine more than the other. Just depends
on what your application calls for and how much you are willing to
put up with. I am personally fond of the spools and such. I have
had the opportunity to help a couple of people with setting up axles
for what they wanted. Both didn’t have the cash for a locker,
and didn’t want to spend more for a spool. So welding was the
last option. We got to talking with many different people about this
cheep traction conversion. What I found out was something simple and
not permanent at all. The axles I welded were some of the simplest
for welding. A chev 14 bolt and Ford 9”. Granted, the spiders
are encased in the carrier, which means that if you wanted to swap
back, you would need to pull and split the carrier to remove them.
BUT they way they sit in makes for an easy install. I don’t
know if this will work for an open 8.8 or not. I am sure that there
is a way but I have not had a chance to mess with it. As cheep as
this is…what do you have to loose. Try it and see. Let me
know and ill add it. For now ill stick with the only Ford
application I have worked with. Lets get to it!

OK….you have
your axle…I am going to assume that you know what is what and
you have general knowledge of how to remove the spiders of your axle.
If not….place a post. There are lots of people that are
willing to help you out! Or mail me. What you need to do is lay out
the spiders out in front of you. Clean them off well with brake
cleaner to get rid of the oil. Don’t loose the
washers/bearings that insert in-between the gears and carrier. The
pic’s I am using are of the 14 Bolt but its basically the same.
What you want to do is support one gear so you can lay a good bead
with the welder. I would suggest a MIG welder using CO2/argon gas.
Makes a clean weld with little spatter. AND you don’t have to
chip the slag. You need to turn it up as high as your welder will
go. I have a 140A Snap On Mig that worked just fine.

This is the carrier of
the 14 bolt. Its very similar to the 9”. As you see the
spiders sit on a Cross Pin setup. The 9” it’s a little
different in this respect. The pins are held in with a roll pin that
needs to be driven out to remove the spiders. But the spiders sit in
the carrier and ride on the side gears that drive the axles. What
you need to do is get your set up spider gear and run a bead in the
middle of the valley between the teeth. Do not make this too tall
do to clearance issues with reassembly. Start small and you can
always go back and add more. Once you have made one pass, skip on
valley and then weld the next. Then skip two and weld the third.
Here is the pic.

You do this for the
other three. LET COOL!!! They will be hot…but if you can’t
figure this out….you probably burned all the feeling out of
your fingers way before this! Then assemble the gears back into the
carrier (with the washers/bearings). Test fit it. Place the two
open teeth down onto the side gear. Line it up and lay the other
half on top to check the fit.. You don’t want it too loose
that the gears slap back and forth. I would leave a little play
though. Your judgment. You need to look through the side holes
where the spider pins go and see if the pin will clear. If not, hit
the weld with a grinder and problem solved. Don’t worry about
messing up the teeth. They will not spin anymore. Be conservative
though for reasons above.

Once you have gotten
the results you like, put the carrier back together. Then have
someone set up the gears for you….or do it your self if you
know how. I must add that this will cause more stress on your rear
drive train. It may cause something to brake. It will cause tires
to ware. But makes a pretty cool pattern on em! Unlike a locker,
this will transfer stress through the stock carrier and pins. This
may be ok but if you have a dated carrier, I would suggest maybe
looking towards a full spool. A locker replaces the whole carrier
with a stronger on that is designed to take the abuse. That is the
difference. BUT I have not had any problems with either truck at
all. Please be careful, and if you don’t know what you are
doing, find some one that does. Anyway…that is basically it
in a nut shell. Enjoy!

Like to thank the
Goins’ for the pics and the opportunity to help improve their
traction and truck!

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